Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Finding Tea Room to Breathe

Constant pressure makes our need for relaxation even more acute. Regardless of how wonderful our family, friends and/or work may be, there comes a time when unplugging from all of the above ceases to be a suggestion and becomes an imperative.

So it occurred to me one Saturday. I was on a mission to:
  • Change scenery

  • Step away from the routine

  • Encounter a new tea experience

Enjoying Changing Scenery

Accompanied by a courageous friend undaunted by my impromptu adventures, we headed toward the hills. The previous night's rain induced the fall foliage to start its transition. As a result, we viewed an unfolding and glorious display of red, gold, and bronze leaves. Truly this was precisely the scenery change our weary souls craved.

It amazes me how easily conversation flows when we make a conscious effort to break away from routine tasks. Although the trip was 40 miles to our destination, it was a prime opportunity to unwind verbally, to enjoy unrestrained laughter, and to congratulate ourselves on our successful escape. Before we became too giddy, however, our insistent GPS guide would sternly remind us of our mission goals. No, she was not amused.

Focusing on Relaxation

Sufficiently chastened, we safely arrived at our destination: Charlotte's Tea Room in Warwick, NY. Admiring the tea saucer-lined pathway, we entered the spacious home prepared to unwind even further.

Instead, we found ourselves sharing space with a boisterous, three generation, feminine family reunion. I personally appreciate family as my family gatherings are anything but quiet. How did we resolve it? Did we move to another area?! No. This required focus: we determined ourselves to relax and to enjoy the charming Victorian decor, the friendly service, and the overall cheerful atmosphere.

It wasn't until our neighbors left that we noticed the soothing classical music softly playing in the background. That one adjustment ushered us into the "Wooo-Saaah" zone (read: breathe in, breathe out).

Charlotte's Tea Room (Warwick, NY)

Charlotte's Tea Room offers a wide assortment of Harney & Sons teas (http://www.harney.com/). We selected "Chinese Flower", a blend of hand plucked Chinese green tea, three types of flowers, and citrus flavors. The tea paired beautifully with the Curried Chicken Salad tea sandwich, creating a citrus and spicy symphony for the palate.

Although our knowledgeable server informed us the damp weather prevented their import of clotted cream, lemon curd was available. My cranberry scone received this offering graciously and filled any remaining void.

The dessert course makes or breaks an afternoon tea. Our dessert selection, the Cheesecake Petit Fours, was a deceptively small yet rich plan to encourage abandoning any existing dietary restraints. As I thankfully have none, I greeted each one as a long lost friend. We left Charlotte's Tea Room and Warwick full and satisfied. Mission accomplished.

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